Narrated Abu Huraira that Allah’s Apostle said, ‘A man who wanted to give charity gave it, unknowingly, to a thief. The next morning he came to know by some people about his mistake. He said, ‘O Allah! All praises are for you. I shall give charity again’. He then gave charity to a woman and the next day he came to know from some people that he had mistakenly given charity to an adulteress. On hearing his he said, ‘‘O Allah! All praises are for you. I have given charity to an adulteress. I shall give charity again’. When he went to give charity for the third time he ended up giving it to a wealthy person. He came to know about his mistake from some people the next day. He said, ‘‘‘O Allah! All praises are for you. I have given charity to a thief, an adulteress and a well-off man. I shall give charity again’. At this point, a man came to him and enlightened him by saying, ‘The charity which you gave to the thief will make him abstain from stealing, the charity which you gave to the adulteress will make her abstain from illicit sex and the one which you gave to a rich man will serve as a lesson to him and he may also spend the wealth granted to him by Allah (swt) in His Way’.
As we know that the niyaah or intention with which we do or say something is of utmost importance in Islam. The intention should always be pure and good. Offering Salaat with the sole intention of obtaining Allah (swt) Goodwill is a pure intention. On the other hand, offering Salaat to show off one’s piousness to people is considered to be a form of shirk (associating partner with Allah (swt). So the person mentioned in this hadith had offered charity thrice just for the sake of obtaining Allah (swt)’s Goodwill. Since his intention was pure, so he will be definitely rewarded by Allah (swt).
The second point that has been highlighted here is the importance and usefulness of the Islamic concept of zakaat. If all the affluent Muslims sincerely pay the Compulsory charity/ zakaat and the voluntary charity/ sadqah which Allah (swt) has made due on them, then there will be no need for any poor man to steal food, money etc from the rich and nor would there be any need for a poor women to sell her body to make both ends meet.
It goes without saying that offering Zakaat alleviates poverty, thereby reducing the tension and friction between the haves and the have-nots. The goal of Satan is to make people miserly and selfish so that they do not give charity. This kind of situation leads to widening of the gap between the rich and the poor. It creates animosity and dissent between them and consequently, may lead to all sorts of crimes in the society.
Islam, being the religion of peace, has shown us the right path. If we tread the path of Islam we will be bringing peace, harmony and prosperity in our life in this world and hereafter.